Maximizing yield, minimizing waste and increasing product shelf-life is not just positive from a sustainability point of view, it also makes sound financial sense, making it increasingly important across the global food industry. This is the thinking behind a range of internal and external initiatives launched by JBT aimed at being part of the long-term solution for the industry, which were recently recognized with EcoVadis’s Bronze Sustainability Medal.

In an era of rising populations and increasing pressure on the global food and agriculture system, practical solutions are urgently needed to help producers and processors make better use of the world’s precious resources. Responding to the challenges, JBT has launched ambitious sustainability initiatives aimed at working hand-in-hand with customers to achieve a more efficient food industry worldwide.

Growing recognition
JBT was recently featured on the EARTH television series as a part of their “Innovative Food Processing Solutions and Sustainability” series. “A segment was filed at JBT’s Sandusky, OH site with a focus on our innovative technology, quality products, services, solutions to helping nutritious foods last longer, and how JBT is helping to create a more sustainable world,” says Angie Sobkowiak, JBT’s Environmental and Social Impact Leader.

JBT’s ongoing efforts have been rewarded with a Bronze Sustainability Medal from sustainability ratings organisation EcoVadis, as part of the EcoVadis 2021 Sustainability Ratings. JBT achieved a score of 45 out of 100, placing it among the top 50% of companies assessed by EcoVadis. To put this in context, the previous time JBT was assessed, it was placed in the 29th percentile of companies for sustainability; it is now in the 51st percentile.

“EcoVadis rates policies and programs that companies have in place, and whether they have good governance processes to achieve them,” explains Sobkowiak. “JBT increased our scores across the board, receiving additional points in the environmental, labor, human rights and ethics categories, so the improvements have been widespread.”

Optimizing resources
Among other achievements, JBT in 2010 set a goal to reduce energy intensity by 25% by the year 2020 through a partnership with the US Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program. JBT not only met the goal in 2019, but surpassed it; reducing the energy intensity in U.S. operations by 31% and globally by 28%.

One of JBT’s recent sustainability achievements was the installation of over 1,000 solar panels at our Sint Niklaas, Belgium facility in 2020, which are expected to account for 25% of the 260,000 sq ft center’s total energy usage. This complemented the addition of solar panels to JBT’s Madera, California site in 2015, replacing over 40% of its electrical usage cost.

Through innovations such as the Heat Recovery System – which can deliver a reduction in steam usage of up to 40% – JBT helps customers optimize energy use, helping reduce a company’s overall footprint, while delivering substantial cost savings. 

Reducing or recovering food waste is also a key component of JBT’s strategy, with solutions that enable customers to benefit from potentially lucrative by-products that would otherwise be thrown away.

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